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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Allison Novelo

Meet the mayor: Hundreds line up to shake hands with Johnson, who vows ‘the fifth floor belongs to the people’

Mayor Brandon Johnson takes a photo with well wishers outside of his City Hall office on Monday. (Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times)

Some wanted to congratulate him. Others to get a look at him. And still others just to wish him well — whether they voted for him or not.

“I want to see what he can do differently for Chicago’s youth,” said Eric Bynum, 21, a West Side resident who said he had high hopes for Mayor Brandon Johnson even though he didn’t vote for him.

“After what we saw in downtown Chicago, I hope he invests in our youth and invests in our education.”

Hundreds of area residents showed up at City Hall on Monday for a public meet and greet with Johnson, shortly after the former Cook County commissioner took the oath of office.

Waiting patiently in a line that wound through City Hall, many said they wanted to wish Johnson good luck as he stepped into his new role.

“I am so thrilled and honored to be the 57th mayor of Chicago,” Johnson said as he thanked the crowd that had gathered outside his fifth floor office. “We’re going to represent every single section — no matter who you are, where you live, what you do, the fifth floor belongs to the people.”

Mayor Brandon greets well wishers on his first day as mayor of Chicago on Monday. (Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times)

And residents took that message to heart on Monday.

A mother hailing from the city’s South Side said she hopes to see further investment in Chicago’s schools and is looking forward to having a mayor who is accessible.

“He’s a young Black man, and our city’s kids need someone like him to lead,” said Shunice Hill, 51. 

Another resident said he fully supported the mayor and voted for Johnson in the February election and the April runoff. 

“I think he has great ideas — new ideas, and he believes in investing in the people instead of just arresting our way out of problems,” said Shawn Childs, 47, a lifelong Chicagoan who’s now living in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. 

Mayor Brandon Johnson takes a photo with residents who visited him at City Hall on Monday. (Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times)

From the north suburbs, Andrew Mikolajczyk, 60, of Arlington Heights said he wanted to congratulate the mayor despite his initial preference for Johnson’s competitor, Paul Vallas, who narrowly lost to Johnson during the runoff election in April. 

“[Johnson] has major challenges ahead, and many people voted for his rival, and now he needs to unite the city and bring the city forward,” said Mikolajczyk. “Reducing crime, investing in public transportation, dealing with budget challenges ... I just want to congratulate him and wish him all the best.”

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